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St. Paul Park American Legion team on six-game win streak

Woodbury's White team must consider itself lucky. Thanks to heavy rains July 6, the American Legion squad didn't have to play the buzzsaw that is St. Paul Park's American Legion squad.

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Woodbury's White team must consider itself lucky. Thanks to heavy rains July 6, the American Legion squad didn't have to play the buzzsaw that is St. Paul Park's American Legion squad.

Tuesday's rainout was sandwiched between a 13-7 victory over Mahtomedi July 5 and a 7-0 shutout of South St. Paul July 6. That makes six straight for St. Paul Park, which at 7-3 this season sit near the top of the league.

"Everything is going for us right now," coach Eric Darwitz said. "We're playing well. The kids are really starting to get into it, and winning helps too."

The legion squad had just nine players last week, as three of the 12 on the roster were on vacation. As a result, Darwitz had to go with a less-established starting pitcher July 6 in Tom Bonine.

But Bonine, who did not pitch for Park High School this season and had only two innings under his belt in legion play, kept St. Paul Park in the game in an out shy of four innings.

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Matt Ruben, pitching for the first time this summer, finished the game up with 2 1/3 innings of solid ball, including five strikeouts, to earn the win.

St. Paul Park had a 5-2 lead in the fifth inning, but gave up a four-spot in the top half and trailed by one. But the squad bounced back in the bottom of the fifth with six runs to put the game out of reach.

"The kids really responded well," Darwitz said.

Steve Kraushaar was 2-for-3 in the game with four runs scored. Andy Grundhauser added a home run in the victory.

On July 7, South St. Paul stood little chance against starting pitcher Matt Doornink. With his repertoire of fastball, change-up and curve ball all working for him, Doornink allowed just two hits while striking out 13, in other words, 62 percent of South St. Paul's outs came via the strikeout.

"He's got a great mix," Darwitz said. "He has a very good curveball and when he's throwing it for a strike, he'll have guys off balance all day."

Meanwhile, Cam Balder paced the offense, going 3-for-4 at the plate with a two-run home run.

St. Paul Park looked to continue its hot streak at Forest Lake on Monday and played at Hastings yesterday after the Bulletin went to press. The squad is in action at 6:15 p.m. tonight against Woodbury Blue at Park High School and play again at 6:15 p.m. tomorrow against Inver Grove Heights at Simley High School.

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